Horses For Beginners: Understanding Colt, Gelding, Mare, Filly & Stallion?

When people speak about horses, they tend to use a wide variety of unusual words. Usually, you hear terms such as stallions, colts, and mares. But have you ever wondered what these words mean? Horses are majestic animals that have had a very long history and relationship with human beings. Sometimes in the past, they were a significant form of transportation for human beings. They have also performed various tasks for humans over the years. While most are domestic, others remain wild. There are over 200 breeds of horses currently in existence. In this article, however, we will be zooming in on five different species of Horses- the Colt, Gelding, Mare, Filly, and Stallion. 

What Is A Colt Horse?

In simple terms, a colt is a male horse that is less than four years old. The young male horse is often mistaken for a foal, which is understandable because the only difference is that the colt is usually a male horse. Meaning that a colt horse is a foal as well, but then again, only 50% of foals are colts. Mant times often, people refer to a castrated horse that hasn’t attained the age of four as being a colt. On the other hand, the term is used in a seemingly different manner when we are referring to horse racing in the U.K. In the United Kingdom, a colt may be a thoroughbred that has not been castrated. To top it all, it must be between the ages of 2 and 4 years old. The leader of the pack among wild horses will usually send the young colt (age 2 or 3) away from the herd to avoid breeding between the young male and its sisters. Right after that, they will join other young males known as ‘rag’ or ‘rake’ that are seemingly in a similar situation.

What Is A Gelding Horse?

A gelding is simply a castrated male horse. It is also called a donkey or a mule. The process of castrating the horse is referred to as “gelding.” The primary reason for the castration of a horse is to keep its temper in check and reduce its aggression levels. If you are sure that you will not be breeding on the horse at all, it is highly advisable to castrate it promptly. 

What Is A Yearling Horse

A young horse that could be male or female is called a ‘yearling.’ A yearling is usually between 1 and 2 years old. At their age, they have barely matured and will have much weaker bones/muscles than that of the fully-grown horses. When a yearling gets to three years old, it will be described as a stallion or mare. 

What Is A  Mare Horse

 A mare is a female horse above the age of four. It is an adult female horse. It will have to be more than three years old, or else, it is called a filly. A mare, in thoroughbred racing, is referred to as a female horse that is over four years old. So, it can be really confusing. You must know the exact type of mare people are referring to as there are numerous disparities here. 

What Is A Broodmare?

A female horse that is used for breeding is referred to as a broodmare. The word ‘brood’ means ‘young’; therefore, its underlying meaning is- ‘young female horse.’ In this context, ‘young’ is referred to as ‘offspring’; in that case, a more accurate meaning may be described as “A female horse for birthing offspring.” And this is just what a broodmare is. A horse isn’t called a broodmare until she births at least one foal. But until then, she is a ‘prospect broodmare,’ not an actual broodmare. Typically, the broodmare will be an excellent horse because the owner intends to breed on her. She will typically also be ridden, but the principal purpose will be for her to birth some new exceptional foals. A broodmare is usually bred to a fine stallion to give birth to excellent foals that can either be used or sold by the owner. 

What Is A Filly Horse?

 A filly is a female horse that is less than three years old. It will be referred to as a mare after the age of three. So, the term ‘filly’ is used to indicate that we are talking about a female foal. That is the primary distinguishing factor between a foal and a filly. Several female foals are referred to as ‘fillies’ which is plural for a filly. Fillies are naturally more calm and easy to handle than colts. They do not have an aggressive attitude and are perfect for teaching kids to ride. 

What Is A Stallion Horse?

 The stallion is a male horse older than four years old that isn’t a gelding. A stallion is typically used for the purpose of breeding and can therefore not be castrated. A fine stallion horse costs a lot of money and is usually among the best because the owner has chosen to breed on him. Stallions are often a tad bit more aggressive than all other horses due to the fact that they are fully-grown males that have not been castrated. The stallion’s hormones can make it more challenging to teach and ride. They are typically not aggressive towards human beings but predominantly other stallions. Keep in mind that horses are flock animals and so naturally, a stallion will try to rule the herd of horses around it.

What Is A  Foal Horse?

In simple terms, a foal is an infant horse. It could be either male or female. The term ‘filly’ is explicitly used to refer to a female foal, while the word “colt” is expressly used to refer to a male foal. 

That’s it for the many names of horses! Now, here are terms used to describe smaller horse-like breeds.

What Is A Pony Horse?

A pony horse is about 147 centimeters tall. Ponies have a really thick coat and are more muscular than the regular horse. Due to their short legs, they are not as tall as healthy horses. When compared to a fully-grown horse, the pony’s legs are much shorter. It can consume the same liquids and foods as a healthy horse and can be ridden by shorter people, including kids. 

What Is A Jenny?

A female donkey is called a Jenny or Jennet. The term is not age-specific as it only refers to a female donkey. Jenny will typically be calmer and less stout than Jack. 

What Is A Jack?

A male donkey is referred to as a ‘Jack.’ A mule is the offspring of a jack and a female horse. That is usually a sterile animal, like the Hinny, which we will mention next. Jack is a domesticated breed of horses that is much smaller in nature but under the same family tree. In Australia, Jack is referred to as a ‘cuddy.’ 

What Is A  Hinny?

The Hinny is the offspring of a stallion and a Jenny. It is a hybrid of a male horse and a female donkey. They are naturally sterile, meaning that they do not have the ability to reproduce themselves. Hinny is not a very common breed of horses. People often prefer to produce donkeys instead of hinnies since they are of more use and are easier to handle.

What Is A  Zonkey?

When a zebra and a zonkey are put together, they produce a zonkey. The Zonkey is the hybrid of a Zebra and a Donkey. They also have several other funny names and are not typical. This is probably because Zebras and Donkeys like to keep to themselves.